Frustrated Tipp City school board member: ‘I want our meetings to go back to the kids’

One of two new members of the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education told fellow board members last week he was “tired” of continued board arguing and lack of focus on studen

Combined ShapeCaption
One of two new members of the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education told fellow board members last week he was “tired” of continued board arguing and lack of focus on studen

One of two new members of the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education told fellow board members last week he was “tired” of continued board arguing and lack of focus on students.

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I want our board meetings to go back to the kids,” Richard Mains said Monday.

The comment came during renewed board debate over a fraud questionnaire submitted to state auditors by board President Simon Patry and a subsequent request for the board to release documents including emails and information from closed board executive sessions.

The board earlier this year authorized Patry to complete the questionnaire after receiving a legal opinion from Miami County prosecutors that the president could provide information requested.

Board members Anne Zakkour and Theresa Dunaway later questioned Patry at a board work session about his questionnaire written comment that: “It is my opinion that in the years 2020 and 2021 that three board members engaged the services of the school district’s service providers (its attorneys) on behalf of the school district without board of education authorization It is my opinion that this caused the school district to incur and pay significant expenses that were not authorized by the board of education.”

Patry wrote on the questionnaire that it was important to note that the concern listed “is based solely on my opinion … and at least three of five board members from 2020-2021 vehemently disagree with my opinion.”

Dunaway and Zakkour remain on the board and are the subject of a Concerned Citizens legal action filed in Miami County Common Pleas Court seeking their removal from office. That complaint is pending.

The state auditors’ request for more information was again before the board May 9 after being tabled earlier. After heated discussion, the board took no action.

During that discussion, Mains made the plea to turn attention to other school issues. He joined the board in January along with Amber Drum.

Mains said he and Drum were not involved in the issues before the previous board. “Amber and I don’t know what the heck was going on,” he said.

Patry admitted the debate has been a distraction, but added he thought the issues included on the fraud form needed to be reported.

“If nothing wrong was done … then this would be a moot issue,” he said. “If there is an issue, we will find out.”

Zakkour said Patry has been on a safari, what she described as “a hunt” against some board members.

“There is nothing in here I am running from,” Zakkour said. “My issue is the distraction, the time, the double speak that has been going on.”

She said it’s time for a new direction and to stop spending money on unnecessary legal issues.

“Most board members don’t have hunters that spend their time hunting, and wanting to take members down,” she said. ZAkkour asked Patry to turn his attention to running the board as president and “making things work for our community.”

Dunaway called the ongoing arguing among some board members ugly. “I don’t like living in ugly. This is living in ugly,” she said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

About the Author